How to Lodge a
Human Rights Complaint
If you are a New Zealand citizen permanently residing in Australia, and you are of the opinion that deprivation of the right to Australian citizenship and associated political rights, the right of your children to aquire Australian citizenship by birth, access to most social security, access to the HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP higher education loans, and the right to sponsor family members for permanent residence are violations of your human rights in terms of Australia's obligations under international law, then you may wish to lodge an individual complaint with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Luckily, previous Australian Labor Governments ratified such international human rights treaties that supposedly guarantee you these rights. Previous Australian Labor Governments also ratified the following individual complaints processes:
Both these complaints processes allow individuals who have exhausted all reasonable domestic remedies to seek an opinion as to whether their human rights have been violated from the body governing the relevant treaty.
The relevant bodies for the above treaties are:
Am I eligible to make a complaint?
If you are, or were, within the juristiction of Australia and you believe that you are, or were, discriminated against because you are a New Zealand citizen - then you are most probably eligible to lodge an individual complaint under either, or both, of the above international human rights treaties as discrimination based upon nationality is perfectly legal under Australian Commonwealth law, wheras it is not under both CERD and the CCPR - e.g.:
"Commonwealth legislation known as the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of, amongst other things, "national origin", and states that any benefit given to people of one national origin must be extended to people of all national origins.
The Federal Court found that the government was able to get around the law by not mentioning "national origin" but discriminating instead on the basis of the type of passport people held when they entered Australia. In our view, this leaves a gaping hole in the protection offered by the Racial Discrimination Act which could be exploited by proponents of a return to the days of "Australia for the white man". Perhaps we will soon see fish and chip shops putting up signs barring entry to people holding Asian passports."
Transcript - http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/other/hca/transcripts/1999/S5/1.html
Parish Patience Solicitors, Immigration Law Section
The Australian Government appears to have been well aware of the new legal distinction between place of birth and nationality in the RDA - given that a media release from the Minister of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (Ruddock) dated 26 February 2001 stated in part:
"The new arrangements [...] apply to all New Zealand citizens, regardless of place of birth."
This virtually guarantees that you have no domestic recourse available to you because discrimination based upon your New Zealand nationality is perfectly legal. This entitles you to lodge an individual complaint of discrimination based upon nationality. Decisions resulting from such individual complaints are not legally binding, but are highly embarrasing to the Government, and thus apply considerable domestic and international pressure to rectify the situation.
Lodging a complaint
Lodging a complaint is absolutely free - unless you wish to employ the services of a lawyer to assist you in doing so. The Bayesfky website provides a step by step guide called How to Complain to the UN Human Rights Treaty System. It provides all the information necessary to lodge your complaint.
You can also see some examples of complaints to CERD here.